The Los Angeles Clippers (23-10) put an end to the Washington Wizards’ (11-18) 5 game win streak last night 135-116 at Staples Center. The Clippers looked great right from the start of the game. They built a 20 point lead early in the 2nd quarter and took a 17 point lead into halftime. During the second half the Wiz were able to take advantage of some LAC miscues and cut the lead down to single digits. A spark from Terance Mann helped the Clips get back on track early in the 4th. They were able to win going away.
Former league MVP Russell Westbrook was a rebound shy from yet another triple-double. Yet he was somehow a -26 in the game. The Wizards’ other star Bradley Beal had 28 points, but was only 1 for 5 from 3. The Wizards have had some late game magic lately. Most recently they stunned the Lakers in OT in their previous game. But, that magic ran out last night as they were not able to complete the comeback.
STAR OF THE GAME
I could very easily give it to Kawhi Leonard and his 32 points here because he arguably had a better game. But, I am going to give it to Paul George and his 30 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Paul George was named an All-Star reserve yesterday. That accolade looked like it got his mojo working early for this game as he knocked down his first 6 3 pointers, going 6 for 7 for the game. He looked silky smooth out there, and like his toe that had bothering him enough to sideline for a few weeks was feeling just fine.
He was putting guys on skates and making defenders look downright foolish. He scored 25 of his 30 in the first half, but I wouldn’t say he disappeared. In short, Kawhi was feeling it in the second, and PG is still on a minutes restriction. This was the PG13 we all wish we had seen in the bubble last year during the playoffs. His play last night showed he is without a doubt deserving to be on the All-Star team. He needs to keep it up to prove that he is deserving to be a champion.
I could say like for the last game the free-throw shooting because they only shot 62% from there for the game. But, I am not going to harp on it because I have faith that this game was an aberration for them in that regard. They will get that together. What I am going to point out is the shot selection. The Clippers had a lull in the second half that enabled the Wizards to get back into the game. You have to give credit to Washington for playing well. But this game should have been even more of a blowout.
The main culprit behind the Wizards’ run was the Clippers taking ill-advised shots. The worst shot in basketball is the mid-range jumper, and they were settling for a lot of them. They were able to overcome those mistakes for this game, but it is a bad habit developed by LAC that likely will come back to bite them later. A solution to it is something I have been harping on all year, the team needs to acquire a true point guard.
Terance Mann. I am not really surprised that he played well, I am more surprised at the rate that he is improving. He just continues to get better and better with every game. He has played so well that he has basically all but replaced Luke Kennard in the rotation. Last year he could not guard a paper bag, and now Coach Lue has him out there late in games for defensive purposes. Last year he couldn’t make an outside shot to save his life, and now he is knocking down corner threes with confidence.
He was 2 for 2 from there last night. He really helped spark the team with his play to start the 4th. The Wiz had all the momentum up until that point, and he very visibly helped the Clippers take it back. His maturation as a player has been a joy to watch, and if he continues to improve at this rate, the sky is the limit for him.
Vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Wednesday, February 25th at 5:00pm
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